All posts tagged: black-and-white

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VIDEO: Roger Ballen – Outland

The New York photographer Roger Ballen has spent decades photographing the most extreme fringes of South African society. But this is not a documentary project, but a dark cavity into our collective psychology. “I started to work with the subjects in a theatrical, performative way,” Ballen says in our exclusive video interview. “I was there to transform reality.” Ballen is a hugely contentious figure in South Africa. Making his home there in the early eighties, Ballen began to provide the world with powerfully provocative portraits of marginalised, poverty-stricken communities – an uncomfortable reminder of the failings of the Apartheid system. Ballen was at first rooted in the socio-documentary tradition. But then he began to evolve. His photographs began to step beyond the role of witness into a complex portrayal of documentary fiction.  Here, poor whites, transplanted to the cities, take on theatrical role-plays within the pictures, acting out their position as social outsiders in an interplay with Ballen’s own symbolistic leanings. Removed from any established use-value as social documentation, the disturbing photographs ask uncomfortable questions of the viewer. As …

2015-05-07T11:56:43+00:00

Lewis Bush – Metropole

BJP

Cities are places of constant change. It’s the nature of them, and it’s what makes them attractive. But not all change is equal; some is organic, some is pernicious and abnormal. London has always been a city in flux. But, for anyone living in London, the transformations of the past few years are impossible to ignore. Huge swathes of the city have been redeveloped, remarkable buildings demolished, long-standing communities displaced. This current period of activity is unique, for it is is undoing many of the things that make the city unique. As social housing becomes luxury flats, as their inhabitants are forced out to the suburbs, the inner zones of the city become ever more homogenous, expensive and dull. This issue is what underlies Metropole, a project that aims to visualise the changing skyline of London, to imagine how the city will come to look in the future and, most importantly, seeks to recreate the sensation of feeling lost in a city that was once familiar. It’s a project partly inspired by the city symphony movies of the 1920s, films that eulogised …

2015-04-21T15:14:33+00:00

Tod Papageorge – Studio 54

Bianca Jagger rode a white horse through it on her birthday. On Andy Warhol’s special day, the owners gave him bin full of dollar bills for his. New York’s Studio 54 opened in 1977 and closed less than three years later, but it’s gone down in history as the most glamorous, most louche, best nightclub in history. It was also one of the most photographed. Populated by celebrities and party people, decorated with literally tonnes of glitter and an illuminated, coke-snorting man-on-the-moon, Studio 54 was a treasure trove for image-makers. Tod Papageorge was one of them, first arriving at the new year’s eve party of 1977/78 and going back again and again until it closed. But while most of the photographers were shooting on assignment, or shooting celebrities with a view to selling them on, Papageorge was working for himself, free to capture the whole scene on his own terms. “I was on my own kind of self-assignment,” he tells BJP. “It had nothing to do with celebrity, and all to do with making what I hoped would be …

2015-04-17T18:45:00+00:00

Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860

William Henry Fox Talbot worked out how to do it 1839, by soaking paper in silver iodide salts to register a negative image which, when photographed again, created permanent paper positives. It was one of the earliest ways of creating a photographer. He called it a ‘salt print.’ The photographs were fragile and liable to corrode quickly. In the great Victorian age of invention, salt prints were quickly replaced by new photographic processes. A new exhibition at London’s Tate Britain gallery will show how, for a short but significant time, the British invention of salt prints became a stock in trade process for emerging photographers the world over. Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 is the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to salt prints; with ninety photographs on display are among the few fragile salt prints that survive and are seldom shown in public. “There was no such thing as a photographer back in the 1870s,” says Carol Jacobi, the curator of the show. “The early adopters of photography, the people who became the first photographers, were already lawyers or painters or scientists or politicians, as was the case with Talbot.” …

2015-04-17T14:05:55+00:00

BJP Staff